In the last seven months, two large US Navy cargo ships were successfully fixed in an Indian shipyard. This shows that the US Navy and Department of Defense are committed to using ship repair and maintenance facilities in India.
The USNS Matthew Perry, a dry cargo ship from the US Navy’s Lewis and Clark-class, is the most recent ship to leave Chennai, India, after getting repairs at the Larsen & Toubro shipyard there. From March 11 to 27, Matthew Perry’s ship was in Chennai for a little over two weeks for repairs.
The USNS Matthew Perry is 210 meters long, 32.3 meters wide, and has a weight of 35,300 tons. At the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in April 2022 in Washington, DC, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken said they wanted to use the ship repair facilities in India.
The US Consul General in Chennai, Judith Ravin, said that the US is proud to be an Indo-Pacific nation, that the US has vital interests in the region, and that India is an important partner for the US in the Indo-Pacific.
“I am sure that the USNS Matthew Perry’s maintenance and repair work in India will strengthen our relationship. Our shipping industries contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific by working together to repair military ships in a way that is effective, efficient, and cost-effective,” he said.
In August 2022, the USNS Charles Drew was the first American ship to get maintenance and repairs in India. The Charles Drew and Matthew Perry are dry cargo ships in the Lewis and Clark class. They are part of the United States Military Sealift Command.
Indian defense and aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which is run by the government, said in February 2023 that it will soon be maintaining and fixing the engines of MQ-9B drones made in the United States.
The Indian Navy is currently using General Atomics MQ-9B High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drones for Maritime Surveillance. While the Indian Navy rents drones from General Atomics, there are plans to buy 30 MQ-9B drones, 10 for the Indian Army, 10 for the Indian Navy, and 10 for the Indian Air Force.
Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of these drone engines at the HAL engine division in Bengaluru is important now that India is talking about buying them for strategic purposes.
“HAL has been making TPE 331-5 engines and giving them MRO support for the past 40 years. We are also setting up places to make TPE 331-12B engines for the HTT-40 project (Hindustan Turbo trainer).
C.B. Ananthakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, said, “The engine used on the MQ-9B Remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) is from the same family of engines, but it has been upgraded to work with RPAS technology.”